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Connected Intelligence Reference Design

Remote Controls of Robotic AUV Subs

B+B SmartWorx - Ottawa, United States

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The annual, week-long Robosub AUV (Autonomous Underwater Vehicle) Competition is held in San Diego, California every summer. Teams from prestigious colleges such as Cornell and MIT participate, and often win. The field widened a few years ago, however, when a team of students from a small high school in Arizona, Carl Hayden Community High School, entered the competition. And, what happened was quite amazing: a group of high school students showed the collegiate competitors that they were up to the challenge, and successfully made it to the final round in 2013.
In simple terms, the goal was to build an airtight robotic submarine and maneuver it remotely, tethered underwater, to complete certain tasks in a specific amount of time, such as locating objects and distinguishing colors. While the AUV is remotely controlled, it is tethered to a WIN 7 laptop when AUV code is developed and downloaded to the sub. This connectivity can allow the students to tele-operate the AUV when needed. This is where fiber optics provided a solution. The tether was connected to the fiber optic media converters manufactured by B+B SmartWorx. The 10/100Mbps media converters support conversion from copper to fiber and bi-directional data transfer of 100Mbps; the team used 100 feet of single-strand, single-mode fiber cabling, connected by Seacon™ connectors to connect a converter that was connected to a laptop copper port, over to converters connected to the main CPU located inside the pressure hull. Tests were conducted daily during the competition, such as locating objects, dodging obstacles, and distinguishing colors of the objects.

Robotic AUV subs ref design imageSince that time, the students who sign up for the program continue to build, learn, and participate in the competition. Their current design is built on a platform that can be used and modified in the future.

The Product - Industrial Grade 10/100 Minature Media Converters

Measuring less than 3.5"D x 2.0"W (8.9 x 5 cm), the IE-MiniMc Series is one of the industry’s smallest copper-to-fiber media converters with both data connections on the same side. The IE-MiniMc family of media converters are a fraction of the cost of other industrial grade alternatives. These products provide the ease and convenience of plug-and-play operation with additional features like auto negotiation and auto-cross.

Powering options include Power-over-Ethernet (PoE/PD), AC wall adapter and USB, offering unsurpassed flexibility for a variety of installations.

B+B SmartWorx products Used in this Reference Design

IE-MiniMc Industrial Ethernet Media Converter
Link to IE-MiniMc data sheet
Picture of IE-MiniMc